NET WORTH: $400 million (estimated)
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Quark Software
FUNDING AREAS: LGBTQ Rights
OVERVIEW: Tim Gill's philanthropy focuses on LGBTQ rights, and he's been a leading funder and advocate in this space.
BACKGROUND: Tim Gill was born in Indiana and got hooked on computers when his high school acquired its first computer. Instead of following in his father's footsteps as a physician, as he had originally planned, he majored in applied mathematics and computer science at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he first became involved in LGBTQ activism.
In 1981, after working in the tech world, Gill borrowed $2,000 from his parents and started Quark, and the company became a leading developer of page layout software.
In 1992, Gill began to speak out publicly as a gay man when Colorado voters passed Amendment 2, which banned laws designed to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination. In 1994, he established the Gill Foundation. The foundation is dedicated to advancing equality by supporting nonprofit organizations that serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allied individuals, as well as people with HIV/AIDS. Since its inception, the Gill Foundation has invested more than $277 million in programs and nonprofit organizations throughout the country. Gill has also been an active political donor through the Gill Action Fund, which he founded in 2005; and draws like-minded LGBTQ philanthropists together through OutGiving, which he founded in 1996.
In 1999, Gill sold his 50 percent interest in Quark, Inc. for a reported $500 million, citing his growing involvement in philanthropy. He set aside 60 percent of his assets after the sale of his stake to advance LGBTQ rights.
In 2015, Gill cofounded JStarr LLC, a smart home technology start up. Its flagship product is a digital home assistant called Josh.ai, comparable to Amazon Alexa, Echo and Google Home. Gill is the chairman and chief technology officer for JStarr.
Gill is married to Scott Miller, a former wealth adviser who now sits on the Gill Foundation Board of Directors. Miller also attended the University of Colorado at Boulder.
LGBTQ RIGHTS: Gill is perhaps the most important LGBTQ philanthropist of recent times. The Gill Foundation in 1994 is dedicated to advancing equality by supporting nonprofit organizations that serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allied individuals, as well as people with HIV/AIDS. It played a critical role in achieving marriage equality. Since the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage he foundation has shifted its strategy, spearheading a campaign to end discrimination against LGBTQ people in all areas of their lives—from housing to employment to public accommodations. The foundation lists four priority areas: "equal treatment," "family recognition," "safe schools," and a "prosperous Colorado."
The Gill Foundation has backed most of the top LGBTQ rights organizations at the national level, as well as local and regional organizations—especially in Colorado. It’s giving has been around $15 million annually in recent years. But that number doesn’t convey the central role that the foundation has played as convener and strategist within the LBGTQ movement.
In 1996, Gill started OutGiving, an organization that brings other major LGBTQ philanthropists together to help coach them how to deploy their giving most effectively. OutGiving hosts private, invite-only conferences geared toward those whose annual giving exceeds $25,000.
In 2005, Gill created the Gill Action Fund, which works to elect lawmakers who are likely to advance equality for the LGBTQ community.
Gill and his foundation have also been an active in the State Equality Fund, a collaboration of LGBTQ funders including the Ford Foundation. The State Equality Fund operates as a donor-advised fund of Tides Foundation, but is programmatically staffed on behalf of its donors by the Gill Foundation. Since 2007, the State Equality Fund has granted more than $16 million to advance LGBTQ equality at the state level.
OTHER: Gill has been active in funding nonprofits in Colorado outside the LGBTQ space. His foundation has also provided financial support to national organizations that serve the general public, including nearly $1 million to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Katrina disaster relief. He's also long supported local public radio and television through program underwriting. In a recent year, the Gill Foundation’s Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado gave $50,000 to the United Ways of Colorado Flood Recovery Fund. Gill has also funded National Jewish Health, and other organizations supporting health-related research for cancer, Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis
LOOKING AHEAD: Expect Gill's emphasis on LGBTQ rights to hold, but with a broad focus on fighting all forms of discrimination. The Gill Foundation plans to spend down its assets over time, as opposed to operating in perpetuity.
LINKS: The Gill Foundation